Chocolate-Covered Goodness

I had this past Friday off work and decided to use the day to tackle some holiday baking. I always like to make something yummy and pretty to give to friends and co-workers during the holidays. This year, I decided to stick with a classic but try some new flavor combinations. Enter delish chocolate-covered pretzels:

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Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.05 PMI laid all the pretzels out on a cookie sheet so I could sort out all the broken ones. Then I got all my toppings prepared. I used mini M&Ms, crushed candy cane pieces, crushed oreos, and some holiday sprinkles. Next, I melted down the different chocolates, white chocolate and milk chocolate. I dipped each pretzel, covered with topping, and laid them on wax paper to set. Here are the different combinations I came up with:

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.18 PM1. White Chocolate with Oreo

2. White Chocolate with Holiday Sprinkles

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 1.00.27 PM3. Milk Chocolate with mini M&Ms

4. White Chocolate with Crushed Candy Canes

The great thing about this dessert, is that it stores well in the freezer. So I popped these all into gallon size freezer bags and they will be ready for the holidays.

Of course, no baking can be done without a trusty assistant and mine was full of smiles:

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Have you started your holiday baking yet? Do you have any easy desserts you bake each year?

 

 

 

Our Little Bunny’s Nursery

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When I found out I was pregnant I couldn’t wait to start thinking of ideas for decorating the future nursery. When I found out I was having a girl I was even more excited since I would be able to use my favorite color – Pink! When I was registering for our baby shower, I was not impressed with the different options for bedding – everything was too busy or had characters on it which I was trying to avoid. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out the different options that Land of Nod had. I immediately fell in love with the Hop to it bedding. And thus began the bunny nursery!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 9.13.55 AMI loved the little bunnies and the gray and pink combination. Nick and I had fun painting stripes on two of the walls – something new for both of us! And Nick made all of the shelves from old wood trim. We went to a thrift store and bought all the different frames to spell her name and spray painted them all pink. I used my Cricut to cut out all the letters from gray cardstock – the whole project was under $10!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 9.14.03 AMNick actually built the closet into the nursery (we took the existing closet and dry-walled it shut so we could have access to it from our bedroom to have double closets). The changing table/dresser was actually left in our house by the previous owner so we painted it the same gray color as the stripes on the wall. I like the storage the dresser provides rather than some of the other changing tables I saw.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 9.14.15 AMWhile her glider looks brown in the picture above, it is actually a darker gray. The side table was also wood that we painted gray. The armoire was a $20 garage sale find two years ago. We gave it a fresh coat of white paint and painted the knobs gray and it provides awesome storage!

So that is Ashley’s nursery. We love it and she seems to like it too! I am already thinking about some of the changes we can make when she gets a big girl bed. What is the theme or colors of your nursery? Did you have a plan in mind from the start?

Oh, Christmas Tree

Is the Christmas tune in your head now, too? As long as I can remember, my family always had a real Christmas tree when I was growing up. There is something about the smell of a real tree and the way it fills the house that I just love.

When Nick and I moved into our home, we got a great deal on an artificial tree and ever since I have been just a little sad when putting it up. While I love not having to vacuum up all the pine needles and having to worry about remembering to water it, the smell is so worth it.  I also love that we don’t have a real “theme” with our tree ornaments. It is a great collection of ornaments we have gotten each year from kids to adults. Each ornament is a memory and story so it is fun to stand and look at them and reminisce.

Murphy Tree

Luckily my dad has continued to buy a real tree even after I moved out. My dad grew up with small trees so he always finds a tree that is too large (channeling his inner Clark Griswald) and cuts off the top creating more of a Christmas bush rather than tree. I love it. It is such a fun tradition and this year Ashley got to go help Grampy pick out his tree. We put it up this past Friday and Ashley loved the lights and I loved the pine scent.

Ashley Tree

What about you? Do you have an artificial tree or a real tree at Christmas? Does your tree have a theme?

it’s been a minute…

Where have we been? For the last year or so, I took a slight break from blogging with many new and exciting changes in the Murphy house.  We were married last September on a beautiful fall day.

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Being married has been so great – love having such a wonderful husband and all the fun we have together! Last December we found out we were pregnant – more exciting news!

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This past August (8/20/13 to be exact) we welcomed a beautiful little girl into our family, Ashley Rose. And then there were 4 in our little family – Nick, Jenny, Ashley and Amy dog!

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So it isn’t a good excuse to not blog, but that is what we have been up to – with lots of DIY projects including a backyard deck and Ashley’s nursery in the mix.  I am back and hope to keep you all updated on what you missed and what is to come for the Murphy family.

So much can change in a year. What have you been up to? Any big changes in your life?

framed

We are slowly working on creating a photo wall in our hallway and I recently felt inspired to try building one in the stairway leading down to our basement.  Photo walls that look like this make me sad:

which is why I feel like I need to devise a plan of attack for my new frame wall location.

Here are some looks I really love:

In my opinion, Young House Love can do no wrong when it comes to decorating and I love the mix of different memories that they highlight on their frame wall.

I really like the clean look of this photo wall and think it would be great in a dining room or a home office.
Here is a look at our current hallway frame wall, where we tried to hide our thermostat in the mix of frames.

These frames were given to me as a shower gift by my best friend and maid of honor and we just love them!

Do you have a frame wall in your house? Where is it located? Did you slowly add to it or gather everything and then display it?

oreo-stuffed goodness

I have always loved the recipes featured on Picky Palate, and when I recently discovered her recipe for oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, I knew we had a winner! I whipped it up last weekend and it was a hit!

I started by getting all of the ingredients out and ready:

Next it was time to combine all the wet ingredients in the mixer:

Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients separately before slowly adding them to the wet ingredients:

The dough was very thick, but it made it easier to work with when forming it around the double-stuffed oreos!

To assemble the cookies, I first scooped balls of the cookie dough and then flattened the bottom to create a base to place the oreo on:

Next, I placed the oreo cookie on top of the chocolate chip cookie dough:

Then I covered the oreos with the remaining cookie dough:

These cookies were big and I was only able to fit about 10 per cookie sheet. I also covered the cookie sheets with parchment paper to make them easy to remove after they baked.

You can see how big they got in the oven as they baked:

After the cookies were done, I placed them on a cooling rack so they could cool:

Once they had cooled, I brought one down to my official taste tester:

Nick loved them, but they are definitely a decadent treat. You will need a full glass of milk and they are big enough to share! I brought the leftovers into the office because they were too dangerous to leave in the house!

Have you ever made a dessert combining two of your favorite treats?

colorful cupcakes

I have been looking for inspiration for my next baking project and I think the time has come to try to improve my decorating skills. Here are some of the cupcakes that caught my eye while searching:

Here are where you can find the recipes and details on all the sweet cupcakes above:

1.  Chalk & Talk

2.  We Heart It

3.  Oh, Hello Friend

4.  Cake Journal

5.  Mum’s the Word

Have you tried any similar cupcake decorations before? Do these looks intimidate you like they do me? ;)

 

storage saves space

If your home is anything like ours, a 3 bedroom ranch, chances are you have a small bathroom. I am always looking for new ways to create storage without cluttering the space.  Here are some storage solutions that won’t affect your space:

Do you have a small bathroom like us? What have you done to create more storage?